Proving Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident
Car accidents can result in a range of injuries, from whiplash to broken bones. In general, when you are injured in a collision, you will have medical documentation to support your diagnosis and the cost of treatment. This can then be used by your insurance adjuster to add to your settlement amount. In some cases, however, your injuries may be more difficult to prove. Proving soft tissue injuries after a car accident can be especially complicated, predominantly because they are not often detected on x-rays or other imaging.
But soft tissue injuries can be just as debilitating as other injuries and require expensive medical treatments. So what can you do? There are a few steps you can take to avoid being low-balled by your insurance for a soft tissue injury.
What is a Soft Tissue Injury?
Soft tissue injuries are those that involve damage to muscles, tendons, or ligaments. These injuries often result from sudden force applied to the body, such as whiplash or a slip and fall accident. Some common soft tissue injuries include:
- Contusions (bruises)
- Stress fractures
Soft tissue injuries usually manifest in the form of pain, swelling, stiffness, bruising, or tenderness in the affected area.
Why Do Insurance Companies Dismiss Soft Tissue Injuries in a Car Accident?
There are two main reasons insurance companies tend to trivialize soft tissue injuries. The first, as we mentioned, is that these types of injuries will not be visible on medical scans, such as a CT or X-ray. The second reason is that symptoms of a soft tissue injury may not be immediately apparent. In some cases, it can take several days or even weeks to show signs of soft tissue damage. By that point, it will be difficult to attribute your injury directly to the crash, especially without imaging to back it up.
Insurance companies also tend to think of soft tissue injuries as being minor and, therefore, treatable at home. In many cases, that is true. Sprains, strains, and the like are often treated conservatively with rest, heat, ice, and elevation. But in some cases, additional interventions may be required to heal properly. You may find your medical bills adding up in the form of:
- Physical therapy
- Massage Therapy
- Corticosteroid Injections
- And even surgery, in some cases.
How to Prove Soft Tissue Injuries After a Car Accident
Medical documentation will be key in proving your soft tissue injury. You will need to see a healthcare provider as soon as possible following the accident, especially if the crash was severe or you are unsure of the extent of your injuries.
If you are involved in an accident and suspect soft tissue damage, begin collecting evidence as soon as possible. Photograph any visible signs of injury, such as swelling, redness, or bruising. Note your pain levels and the circumstances under which the injury occurred. What action, specifically, caused the trauma? For example, did your shoulder collide with the door, and now it hurts to move it? Noting this information will not only help your doctor treat you more effectively, it will also help your insurance company understand the seriousness of your injuries.
Also make a note of any new behaviors you notice as a possible result of your injuries. Are you suddenly taking ibuprofen every day? Are you having trouble finding a comfortable position? Is your work affected because you can no longer tolerate sitting for long periods?
Be sure to save all medical bills for treatment of your injuries as well. These will further demonstrate the need for medical compensation from your insurance company.
When to Hire a Car Accident Attorney
If you are having difficulty settling your car accident claim, it may be time to consult with a car accident attorney. Again, soft tissue injuries can be difficult to prove, but that doesn’t mean you should have to accept an unfair settlement. Your pain and suffering should not be limited to an arbitrary number simply because it doesn’t fall within a certain category. An experienced attorney can help you build a case to demonstrate to your insurance that higher compensation is warranted.
If you have been in a car accident in Colorado and need help building your case or filing your claim, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Dave is a highly skilled professional who has helped hundreds of clients seek fair settlements from their insurance companies. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.